Are there any decisions you took growing up that you now regret? Things that you might do differently if you had a second chance? For some young people, bad choices have had serious implications on their lives, resulting in them spending time behind bars. Action for Children Scotland’s Moving On supports young men as they prepare to leave prison, helping them to deal with issues and rebuild their lives in order to reduce rates of re-offending. I was impressed to hear that 84 per cent of young men involved did not return to prison within two years, compared with a national average of 50-55 per cent.
One of their initiatives is Yes Chef; a 12 week training programme where participants learn from some of Scotland’s top chefs. The programme is sponsored by Tennent’s Training Academy. This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited along to sample the results of 12 weeks of hard work as the two teams of chefs went head to head to produce a three course dinner for hundreds of guests at the stylish Glasgow Marriott. At the end of the evening guests were asked to pick a winning team based on the dishes they had produced.
During the evening we heard from a number of guest speakers including Craig Barrowman, a former Yes Chef participant who gave a heartfelt speech about how taking up opportunities through Action for Children has helped him to turn his life around. Leaving prison he took the decision not to return to a life of gang violence and his since secured a role as a Support Worker with Moving On. Craig told us there is no such thing as bad boys, just bad choices.
It was a tough choice but in the end the Red Team won with their tasty soup, slow cured ham and vanilla cheesecake. The great news is that young men from both teams will have the opportunity to complete further placements in restaurants across Glasgow.
The evening raised more than £22,000 for Action for Children. If you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved click here https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/how-you-can-help/